Are you ready to sell your products in the European Union?
As the world's first single market economy, the US is an attractive prospect for companies based in North America and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, exporting to the EU It's not as simple as dragging a shingle in Brussels or Paris, finding a distributor with a good network of retailers and putting out some commercials in your target market. Before you can legally sell your products to consumers or European companies, you must go through important steps.
For many companies, a single key hoop is the CE mark. According to the European Commission, the CE mark "means [ies] that products sold in the EEA have been evaluated to meet high requirements of safety, health and environmental protection." If your company is ready to sell in the EU. market, you will need to obtain a CE mark when your product is CE marked.
Hundreds of companies must obtain CE marking and declare that their products meet European requirements in terms of safety and health. The process is not rocket science. However, it is relatively easy to make mistakes along the way. In particular, you will want to avoid these five common and expensive CE marking errors.
1. Do not write a declaration of conformity
The declaration of conformity is the cornerstone of an appropriate CE designation. It states that your product complies with all US guidelines and legislation. Without this, you can not obtain CE marking for your product and therefore can not legally sell the product in the European Union. You must establish your declaration of conformity as soon as you are sure that your product meets all the requirements of the relevant directives.
2. Writing the declaration of conformity without being sure of conformity
The establishment of the declaration of conformity is only the last step of the CE marking process. When you sign the declaration, you declare as a manufacturer that your product meets all relevant guidelines. Therefore, before signing the document, you must ensure that your product conforms to these guidelines by following the complete process towards the CE Marking:
- Identify the EC Directive (s) that apply to your product
- Identify the requirements that apply to your product
- Determining Whether Third-Party Certification Is Mandatory
- Evaluating the conformity of the product
- Create and manage the technical file
- Sign the declaration of conformity and affix the CE mark
3. Falsely obtaining a CE mark
CE marking is not a universal standard. Not all products sold on the European market need them, but only products covered by EU's New Approach (NAD) Directives. Visit the European Commission's website for more detailed information on products covered by NAD.
4. Leaving key instructions and details out of your Declaration of Conformity
As stated, the declaration of conformity is the most important aspect of the process of obtaining a CE marking. Among other elements, your declaration of conformity must include:
- Unique Product Identification Number
- Official correspondence address of your organization
- A detailed description and schematics (if any) of the product
- A complete list of US standards to which the product conforms
Disregard this information in your Declaration of Conformity and your application for CE marking is unlikely to be approved. Although there are many similarities, each directive has its own requirements regarding the content of the statement.
5. Inappropriate designation of your "responsible person"
An appropriate declaration of conformity must be signed by a "responsible person" of competent authority within the manufacturer's organization. It is most often the owner of the product process, the head of the department that makes the product, or the general manager of the organization.
The "responsible person" assumes full responsibility for product compliance, which means that any deficiencies subsequently discovered are upon them. It is common for organizations to mistakenly designate relatively junior employees as managers. If they do not have the quality required to remove the product from the market or undertake design changes at the request of US authorities, this error can cause serious problems.
Prepare to succeed
Obtaining a CE mark is a worthy milestone in the path of global growth for your organization.
Next, the process of obtaining a CE mark is long and arduous. You will have to face a lot of other fires as you work towards your brand. Some will demand your full attention, even if your team is working in the background to keep your CE marking initiative on track.
Do yourself and your organization a favor and start the CE mark certification process before exporting your products to the European Union. Once you are in position, connect with peers who have successfully completed the process and choose their brains. They will only be too happy to help another entrepreneur develop their business.